Chennai: Union environment and forest minister Jairam Ramesh on Wednesday said the Centre’s main challenge and objective is to reduce the proportion of degraded areas and bring them under good quality forest cover.
At present, roughly 21% of Indian geographical area was under forest cover, he told reporters on the sidelines of National Consultation on Management of Agro bio-diversity Hotspots in an Era of Climate Change organised by M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation.
“Out of the total forest cover area of our country, 2% is good quality and high density forest cover and 10% medium density forest area. The remaining 9% is degraded forest cover,” he said.
“Our big challenge and objective is to reduce the proportion of degraded forest and make good forest cover,” he said. Another big challenge was to convert medium density forest to high density forest and protect them, Ramesh said.
“We aim to improve the quality of the forest and not just the quantity,” he said, stating that forests are carbon sink, which was crucial for the present climate change.
The Centre would soon set up a National Environmental Protection Authority (Nepa), which would be empowered to give clearances to all environmental issues, the minister said.